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Robert Louis Stevenson and the Art of Collaboration$
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Audrey Murfin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474451987

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474451987.001.0001

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Collaboration in Theory and Practice

Collaboration in Theory and Practice

(p.1) Introduction Collaboration in Theory and Practice
Robert Louis Stevenson and the Art of Collaboration

Audrey Murfin

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter considers Robert Louis Stevenson’s collaborations in the context of criticism on literary collaboration. In order to define collaboration, we must consider four essential questions: is it acknowledged? is it mutual? is it equal? and is it separable? All authors receive advice from others, making all creative practice in a sense collaborative, but this chapter proposes that texts in which the collaboration is mutually undertaken and overtly acknowledged differ fundamentally from traditionally authored texts. On the other hand, criticism of collaboration has been hampered by the assumption that true collaboration must be evenly divided (all of Stevenson’s collaborations were, in one way or another, unequal ones), and that the business of the critic is to solve the “problem” of who has written what, a project which shows an a priori scepticism about the possibility of collaboration at all.

Keywords:   Literary collaboration, Robert Louis Stevenson, Creative practice

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